Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Keep, Donate, Throw Away And Then There is Precious

Monday, June 10, 2013
Another Soaker

We haven't had to turn our sprinklers on yet, so much rain.

My daughter is pregnant with her third child.  She, her husband, Bella and Ryan live in a small Cape Cod style house.  It was supposed to be their starter home.  But, they fell prey to the poor economy when Jen became a victim of a Company downsize.  She was out of work for 2-1/2 years.  Even though she is now working again,  their "starter" home has now become their "until we get back on our feet" home.
To prepare for the expansion in their family, Jen and Derek have to expand the space in their home.
They are going to finish their basement and turn it into additional living space.
Up until now, the basement has been used as a laundry room, a haven for their four kitties, and a place to put stuff, lots of stuff, an over whelming amount of stuff.
So, now they are going through a downsizing of their own.
They are organizing the stuff into, "donate", "throw out" and "keep" piles.
Sometimes there are disagreements about the designation of the stuff.
It's a common problem.  The "keep" pile starts to mysteriously grow as each family member clutches onto their most prized possessions, saying such things such as "...I couldn't possibly  part with "White Teddy", "Mr Snuggles" or that old door  "...we may need someday".
Jen has been a strict taskmaster, though.  "No, you can't keep that," she would command, as she pulled things out of keep piles and put them back into the appropriate donate or throw away areas.

Over the weekend, Jen found herself alone.  Derek and the kids went to a Mets game with Anne and Domani.  She was ambitiously going to use that time to roll up her sleeves, chase the cats out of the basement and get into serious sort and throw out mode.
When I spoke to her later that evening I asked her if she was able to accomplish her goal.
"I found a box of "precious  mementos" from when I was in junior high and high school," she said.
"Hmm," I though to myself, it's interesting that her stuff has evolved into an additional designation called "precious".
Funny thing, she was reading some of the notes to me that she found.  Notes that she and her girlfriends would pass to each other in class.  You know the ones, "I think Tommy likes you."  "Lisa says she is not inviting Dawn to her party."
"Oh those notes, I remember those notes," I said.
"You never saw these," she said.  
"I hid these way in the back of the first drawer in my dresser."
"Yeah, you're probably right," I said.
I asked her what she was going to do with them.  "Oh, well,  I couldn't possibly throw those away."


  1. When we moved from Wisconsin to California last summer, I had to do that with my entire life. I had to pick out what was really important to pack and take across the country. We filled two dumpsters (the kind that are 30' long; one was 8' tall and the other was 4' tall), I don't know how many trips were made to St. Vinny's (or how many times they came to the house to do a pick up), I sold a bunch of the end, a lot of stuff came along to California but nowhere near as much as we once had.

    1. The best and maybe the only way to clean out stuff is to move.

  2. My afternoon task today is to clean out the back bedroom. IT was my daughter's room when she was a child and it's where my granddaughters will sleep when they stay with us this summer. It's also the room where everything that doesn't have a home winds up. All the stuff that came to me when my mother died is piled up in that room. Instead of getting started with that job, here I am procrastinating by reading blogs. Keep, toss, donate, precious...I like it.

    1. When my mom could no longer take care of herself, she had to move in with one of her children. The day that we all had to gather and downsize for her was very upsetting. Her 80+ years was pared down to a couple of small cardboard boxes.

  3. What she should do is scan those letters and save them digitally. Then she doesn't have to hold on to the papers. Or, she could make a scrapbook...

    I haven't purged my stuff in a while. I feel a cleaning mood coming on.

    1. I did a mad purge a couple of years ago. I wanted to make sure that my kids wouldn’t have to do it. But I have started to accumulate yet once again.

  4. Interesting - that's what I find myself doing during these first few days of a 63 day break from work - it is quite exhilarating to tackle one space after another -work on my home desk and when I get bored or overwhelmed with that then go upstairs to that catch all room. That lasts an hour or two and I find myself in the kitchen (dumping 30 year old gin down the drain and disposing of the bottles!). I plan to do more of that today - today when the fog appears to be staying way off the coast and we might see all day sun and an 80 degree temperature. Invigorates me:)

  5. I look around at all of stuff and it overwhelms me. So I have trained my mind’s eye to not see it. Ross is more of the hoarder. He maintains his shrines all over the house. You know each piece has a story and a memory.